Member Since: 3/30/2012
My daughter was married here in August. The gardens are gorgeous, the park is truly lovely and pictures taken there came out very nice. The actual ceremony was beautiful.
For the reception The staff set up a tent and set out tables and chairs for the event. There mansion is broken up into several rooms, the largest of which fits about 80 people. Dancing has to be outside under the tent. The mansion offers no decorating, so you have to make arrangements for those area screaming for flowers, fireplace mantles, alcoves, etc. I did not care for this arrangement for the reception. You had to constantly get up to go outside and stand to see what was going on, ie- first dance, garter ceremony, throwing of the bouquet etc. I and many of my guests (I know because I asked) would have preferred a traditional catering room where everything happens in the center of the room. Oh well, this is what my daughter wanted. She and her young friends enjoyed it much more than we over 40 did.
Member Since: 1/4/2013
Having grown up in the area I always knew Harkness would be a beautiful place to get married. My husband wasn't as familiar but once he stepped foot on the grounds proclaimed "no question, no contest," this would be the place we'd get married. Though very expensive it really is such a special place- perfect garden grounds, a very nice mansion for dinner gives a great transition from the usual open-space banquet hall (splitting guests into different rooms for dinner really does still allow a nice flow without feeling like someone gets the boot) and an awesome tented reception overlooking the Sound.
We were hesitant because of cost but this couldn't have been a better choice!
Member Since: 7/14/2010
We got married in the amphitheater at Harkness. My husband and I worked at Harkness together while we were in college, so we knew it was the perfect location for us.
The amphitheater looks out on the Long Island Sound, so it's like having a beach wedding but without the annoyance of sand! We didn't use any decorations because the amphitheater is so beautiful on its own.
Although this is not the most private venue (it's a public park), it felt intimate and private. And it was actually really nice to walk through the park on the way to the ceremony having strangers call out, "Congratulations!" "You look beautiful!" "I love your shoes!" As if I needed another reason to smile that day.
The park is gorgeous and perfect for pictures. There are two formal gardens, a beach, and lots of other quirky spots that are the perfect backdrop for pictures.
Know that there are no electrical outlets in the amphitheater, so if you want music played you need a wireless speaker. Same with microphones (which we didn't use). Parking for your guests is included in the price of the rental ($400).
Member Since: 1/10/2012
Harkness is one of the most beautiful places I have been and to get married there was the most amazing experience.
Member Since: 5/29/2010
The mansion is beautiful! As long as the gardens are tended to and the inside has been dusted, it is a beautiful location. We were married in July and there was a nice breeze from the water nearby.
Member Since: 6/5/2011
The venue is gorgeous. It offers everything from the beach to a mansion.
Member Since: 10/14/2010
It’s absolutely beautiful here. Just breathtaking. I had so many people ask us how we had found the place because they had never heard of it. This was the single best decision of our whole wedding. Yes, the mansion has some strict rules, but they aren’t so unreasonable that you can’t have a wonderful wedding. Even if you have to cut back on other parts of your budget to have your wedding here, it’s worth it. Sally, who is the contact for the mansion, is very responsive. If you can deal with the rules (which are definitely worth dealing with) this, in our opinion, is the best place in the state to have a wedding. We are so happy we had ours here.
Member Since: 7/16/2009
Eolia Mansion at Harkness State park is an amazingly beautiful site to have both a ceremony and reception. We held our ceremony at the on-site Amphitheater located right next to the beach. I can’t describe how beautiful the sunset ocean view was for a backdrop to our ceremony. The mansion itself is larger than expected, even with all the tables for guests. The permanent tent and dance floor are great features and allow a nice flow of guests that want to dance, explore, or just talk. The tent is also a nice focal point so that guests don’t feel exiled since the rooms are separated.
There are just a few cons to this facility. First there are no internal services; no caterer, florist, bakery, nothing. They do have a wide variety of tables and chairs that can be used but that’s it. They do have a list of approved caterers that you can use, anyone outside of that list will not be approved. You can use an outside bakery for the cake though.
They are very strict about when they will open the site for your vendors and guests. They will not open the house to vendors until exactly 2 hrs. prior to your reception, not the ceremony.
And they will not open to guests until your exact time for the reception.
Other than those few cons we absolutely loved this venue. The park staff were great, especially Sally, who returned all our emails answering all our questions and/or concerns very promptly. We even had our deposit check waiting for us when we got back from our Honeymoon.
I would definitely recommend this site as a venue.
Member Since: 9/3/2010
Just a magical elegant place to have a wedding!! All the guests just raved about how breathtaking the mansion and the grounds and view were. It felt like a fairytale.
Member Since: 2/9/2011
We had our wedding at Harkness Memorial Park in the Eolia Mansion on Sunday, 10/2 and it was absolutely wonderful. The most beautiful setting there is -- fabulous gardens, sweeping lawns, LI Sound views, classy, historial mansion, everything I was looking for in one place. You select your caterer from the A+ list provided and, your own DJ or band. There is a bridal room upstairs and several rooms downstairs to choose from for the reception, meal, wedding cake, etc. My guests were delighted with the ambiance - there are so many things to stroll around and look at. My nephews had a game of touch football on the lawn while everybody just relaxed with drinks, listening to the music and taking in the beauty. I can't say enough about it and am still hearing the raves from friends and family to this day! It's about $4500 to rent the mansion and the caterer came in at about $9000, which included open bar, wedding cake and gratuitiy. I used A Thyme To Cook and I highly recommend them -- beautifully presented, delicious and unique offerings.
Member Since: 1/17/2010
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this location for a wedding. From the gorgeous mansion, to the incredile pergola for pictures, to the scenic flower gardens/ grounds, the ocean view (and breeze!), to the huge attached tent for the party- it is the best of all worlds! This was the first and only location we looked at for our June 2011 wedding and there was no way we were going to get married and have our reception anywhere else. Sally at the mansion was so helpful and accomodating. The mansion offers 6 catering places to choose from- plenty of options, so we did not feel limited. Our guests raved about how romantic, beautiful, unique, incredible, breath-taking the place was and more than once we heard couples say if they could do their wedding over again, it would be at Harkness. We looked at the mansion 14 months before our wedding and there were barely any dates left for 2011 at that time, so book in advance. It was love at first sight for us and I promise you will not be disappointed with this place!! WORTH EVERY PENNY!!
Member Since: 3/10/2010
This venue is fabulous! The indoor/outdoor setting makes it perfect in any weather. The grounds are gorgeous, making it easy to get tons of great pictures! A must-see for anyone looking for a venue in southern CT.
Member Since: 1/24/2010
The place was unbelievably gorgeous! Everything about it was spectacular to look at. YOu can get married on sight or just have your reception there. The staff is awesome and extremely helpful. It is a little pricey and catering is not included. But if you decide to go here PICK CLOUD NINE! They are the best I have ever seen. They made my experience there 100 times better. They are amazing. The place is worth looking at no matter where you live in CT.
Member Since: 3/10/2009
Beautiful location! You have to chose a caterer off of their approved list, and find the other vendors yourself, but the venue is gorgeous.
Such a eloquent setting for any season! We were married October 16th and many flowers were still in bloom in all of the gardens!
Eolia Mansion has such character, charm and history...our guests were all charmed with this unique setting for our reception!
Such an exceptional place to mark such a special moment! Historic. Classic. Unique.
We loved this private venue! The mansion and the gardens took our guests breath away!
Member Since: 7/17/2009
Beautiful views and beautiful state park. Only down fall is that it is very pricy.
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Unbeatable location!;There is no air conditioning but it was not a problem on a hot August day
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Eolia mansion at Harkness Park is absolutely stunning. It's perfect for a Spring or Summer wedding because of the breathtaking gardens and lawn, however, we married on a cold day in November and it was just as beautiful. We were able to put all of our guests at long banquet tables in the main room so that we weren't spread out all over the mansion. It was a beautiful set up, which allowed us to have a warm, communal dinner celebration. The mansion is also simple yet elegant, with several wonderful spots in which to perform the ceremony. Also, there is a lovely room upstairs where the bridal party can get dressed. I wouldn't change a thing about having my reception at Eolia, especially if you hire a fabulous caterer like Gourmet Galley!;They allot 5 hours for each event and it's quite pricey to extend the time. Make sure to get all the prices--if it's warm weather, they charge extra to use the outdoor area next to the mansion for the ceremony.
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- Outdoor Ceremony Area: Yes
- Indoor Ceremony Area: Yes
- Outdoor Reception Area: Yes
- On the Water: No
- Tented Area: Yes
- Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
- Onsite Catering: No
- Outside Caterers Allowed: Yes
- Kosher Available: No
- Liquor License: No
- Onsite Overnight Accommodations: No
- Onsite Parking: No
- Valet Parking: No
- Onsite Wedding Consultant: No
- Liability Insurance: No
- Site Fee: No
- Capacity: Up to 150
- Style: Banquet/Reception Hall, Botanic Garden/Park, Mansion/Historic Site